Illinois regulators approve Ameren Spoon River transmission line

transmission pylons elp 1

The Illinois Commerce Commission approved the Spoon River Transmission Project, authorizing Ameren unit Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois to construct the 46-mile line between Galesburg and Peoria in Illinois, ATXI said in a Sept. 17 statement.

The Sept. 16 order from the ICC also approved a final route for the 345-kV transmission line. ATXI said its preferred route, route A, would cost about $142 million, while an alternative route, route B, would cost about $146 million. In reviewing various factors, the ICC found that route B, with one modification, is the best route when all costs and benefits are taken into account.

The project includes a new transmission line in Peoria and Knox counties, along with a new substation in Galesburg and expanded substation facilities at Fargo, according to ATXI’s application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity.

ATXI said construction is expected to start in late 2016, supporting about 100 construction jobs, with a planned in-service date in 2018.

In its application at the ICC, ATXI said the expected in-service date is November 2018, although the Sandburg substation and an expanded Fargo substation facilities, near Peoria, are expected to be in service in 2016.

The Spoon River project is one of two main components of the Multi-Value Project 16 approved by the Midcontinent ISO in late 2011. MidAmerican Energy is responsible for building the other component, and it sought a certificate for a 345-kV connection spanning 72 miles between the Fargo substation and a substation in Oak Grove, south of Rock Island in Illinois.

The ICC approval “is welcome news for Illinois,” Maureen Borkowski, chairman and president of ATXI, said in the statement. “This project will benefit the state’s economy, create jobs and provide Illinois electricity customers greater access to lower-cost energy and electricity from renewable sources, such as wind energy. It also will improve transmission system reliability in and around the project area.”

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